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The European Parliament’s decision not to immediately pass the new EU Copyright Directive in July was seen by many as a major setback. It was defeated by 318 to 278, a margin of 40 votes. This means the proposed legislation now moves forward to a full plenary debate and vote next Wednesday 12 September.

As the music industry faces this pivotal moment, it is worth reflecting how we got here and what we are now facing.

The creative industries as a whole have long argued that embryonic digital legislation passed in the mid 1990s is outdated and simply not fit for purpose. The legislative process is slow at the best of times. Meanwhile, the tech industry “moved fast and broke things,” incurring the wrath of creators whose livelihoods have been upended as a result.

The publication of the draft EU Copyright Directive in late 2016 was an achievement in itself. Not only did the draft legislation address copyright protection and safe harbour loopholes, it also contained provisions concerning fairness and transparency towards creators. Following further debate and lobbying, is even more of an achievement that the key elements of the draft directive remain mostly intact.

The Directive has not been without it’s critics, as is the case with any proposed legislation. Academics, libraries and dignitaries such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee have all put forth concerns. We in the music industry can acknowledge some concerns as understandable even if we believe they are unfounded.

What is not understandable are the thoroughly vile and dishonest tactics deployed during the course of this year, whose objective is to stop the legislation in its tracks at any cost. The scale of this activity reads like set pieces straight out of the Cambridge Analytica playbook.

Some in the music industry have questioned how we fight back given the vast funding involved and the sheer scale of this enterprise. But fight back we must and the actions of those we face only serve to give us greater strength.

As any Jiu-Jitsu grandmaster will tell you: use your opponents’ force against them. In this case, we should call out the deceitful actions from within the tech sector and elsewhere and those actions speak louder than any words.

  • The Financial Times reported some MEPs received death threats

  • MEPs were each bombarded with over 60,000 emails from bots

  • These emails contained identical content according to The Trichordist

  • The same blog named the domain name from which a large number of these emails originated and its link to a US Inc. entity.

  • The same tactics have been found on Twitter: multiple bot accounts promoting #SaveOurInternet and similar hashtags

  • This contrasts to real world protests that only drew a few hundred protestors combined across Europe. The bots did not show up.

 

These actions must also be viewed against the current backdrop where tech firms have been scrutinised for avoiding responsibility concerning:

  • Blatantly dishonest content

  • Content that incites hatred and violence

  • Little accountability in how such content is disseminated

  • Minimal transparency in how user data is abused in facilitating all this

Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are amongst those tech executives rebuked by lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic, for failing to take responsibility and failing to act in managing their own platforms. This is reflective of a broader failure that lies at the heart of a misguided and libertarian ideal, that somehow tech firms are exempt from laws and rules that govern the rest of the world.

The music industry and broader creative and media industries are made up of real people, filled with passion and blood pumping through their veins. They compose their own emails, speak to politicians and show up in person.

At the UK Music organized #LoveMusic busking event in London earlier today, artists, executives and even politicians turned out in support. Artists such as Brett Anderson, Ed Harcourt, Dave Rowntree, Madeleina Kay, Newton Faulkner and BASCA Chair Crispin Hunt. In addition a number of cross party British MPs who support the directive including Tom Watson, Nigel Evans and Kevin Brennan were amongst those in attendance.

One has to ask, if those opposing the EU Copyright Directive have such a compelling argument, why do they resort to such deceitful means? If we judge their actions, the arguments of those opposed to the directive hold no legitimacy and the European Parliament should vote in favour of the directive.

Andy Edwards, music manager and consultant
@andyedwardsbiz

28 Jan 2020 | Press release

Keychange Announce 74 New Participants for Year-Long Capacity Building Programme

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28 Jan 2020 | Press release

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28 Jan 2020 | Press release

Kobalt Signs Lewis Capaldi to International Neighbouring Rights Deal

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28 Jan 2020 | Press release

IMPALA statement on the UK's stance on the EU Copyright Directive

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28 Jan 2020 | Press release

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28 Jan 2020 | Press release

F That, a digital agency specialising in interactive social media content launches in UK

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27 Jan 2020 | Press release

The BRIT Awards 2020 with Mastercard announces Fred again.. as Producer of The Year

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27 Jan 2020 | Press release

Calvin Harris, Camila Cabello, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles, AJ Tracey and Biffy Clyro to perform at Radio 1’s Big Weekend 2020 in Dundee

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27 Jan 2020 | Press release

Annie Mac presents announce first wave of conference speakers and topics for March 2020 event

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27 Jan 2020 | Press release

Sound City returns in 2020 with an exclusive Friendly Fires headline show, plus additions Marika Hackman, The Snuts and Louis Berry

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27 Jan 2020 | Press release

Leading London Music School ICMP champions music industry equality with new event series

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27 Jan 2020 | Press release

AIM reaction - UK gov confirms it will not implement the EU Copyright Directive

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27 Jan 2020 | Press release

AJ Tracey joins independent music conference, AIM Connected, as keynote speaker

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27 Jan 2020 | Press release

Flutin Announces Flutin First, Its Emerging Artist Incubator

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26 Jan 2020 | Press release

Government slashes business rates for grassroots music venues

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26 Jan 2020 | Press release

UK Music reacts to Government over Copyright Directive

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24 Jan 2020 | Press release

Apple Music launches Antidote playlist

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24 Jan 2020 | Press release

Festival Republic launch Rebalance Celebrates International Women’s Day

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24 Jan 2020 | Press release

Billboard names Sir Lucian Grainge as first-ever 'Executive of the Decade,' Jody Gerson as 'Executive of the Year' on 2020 Power 100

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24 Jan 2020 | Press release

Hipgnosis acquires Brian Higgins catalogue

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23 Jan 2020 | Press release

Kite: Brand new festival of ideas & music launches in January

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23 Jan 2020 | Press release

AWAL Signs Worldwide Recordings Deal with mxmtoon

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23 Jan 2020 | Press release

Merlin and TikTok agree to a landmark global music licensing partnership

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23 Jan 2020 | Press release

HMV-owner buys 200 store-strong entertainment and pop culture retailer in USA with acquisition of For Your Entertainment

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23 Jan 2020 | Press release

Ditto Music announce launch of ‘Bluebox’

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22 Jan 2020 | Press release

Mixcloud reveals brand consultancy arm LOUD

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22 Jan 2020 | Press release

Ayla Owen appointed European VP of Sync and Creative Services at Warner Chappell Music

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22 Jan 2020 | Press release

Concord Music Publishing announces partnership with Creative Titans and first signing with hitmaker Bassto

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22 Jan 2020 | Press release

Culture Minister Nigel Adams reveals plan for new music strategy to ensure industry remains “the envy of the world”

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22 Jan 2020 | Press release

Concord Music Publishing appoints Tom Coulson-Smith as Director of A&R

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28 Jan 2020

  • Laurent Hubert takes CEO role at Kobalt; Willard Ahdritz becomes Chairman (see Business)

  • Radio 1’s Big Weekend announced (see Media)

27 Jan 2020

  • Billie Eilish dominates Grammy awards in key categories (see News)

  • UK will not implement the EU Copyright Directive (see News)

  • Fred again... wins Producer of the Year BRIT Award (see News)

24 Jan 2020

  • Hipgnosis acquires Brian Higgins catalogue (see Deals)

  • Merlin strikes multi-territory deal with TikTok (see Business)

23 Jan 2020

  • Downtown acquires FUGA (see Business)

  • Concord appoints Tom Coulson-Smith as Director of A&R (see Business)

  • Amazon Music reports 55 million customers globally (see Digital)

22 Jan 2020

  • Recording Academy CEO/president Deborah Dugan calls Grammy voting process 'ripe with corruption' (see International)

  • Spotify tests Stories feature (see Digital)

  • Warner Chappell make key appointments (see Business)

21 Jan 2020

  • Reports from MusicAlly's NY:Lon conference (see Digital)

20 Jan 2020

  • Soundcloud reported strong 2018 figures (see Business)

  • Universal Music launches Creative Differences, highlighting the benefits of employing neurodiverse individuals (see News)

  • Beyoncé said to have signed with Sony/ATV Music Publishing (see Deals)

17 Jan 2020

  • Hipgnosis acquires Ammar Malik catalogue (see Business)

  • O2 partners with CTS Eventim (see Business)

  • Recording Academy head Deborah Dugan out a week before Grammys (see International News)

16 Jan 2020

  • Ed Sheeran ordered to disclose concert income for copyright lawsuit (see News)

  • BMG signs deal with sample licensing startup Tracklib (see Digital)

  • Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, Mabel and Stormzy to perform at the BRIT Awards 2020 (see News)

15 Jan 2020

  • Russell Fogden and Morgan Hughes to lead Warner's Artist Services team in London (see Business)

  • Billie Eilish to sing the new James Bond theme (see News)

  • Universal Music UK launches The Square, Jack Fryer promoted to Managing Director (see Business)

  • HMV confirms five stores saved from closure (see Business)